I may be in quarantine, but music can transport me back to the Middle Ages, or to the court of Catherine the Great of Russia, or, via Donizetti, to an imagined India.
Concert halls and opera houses remain closed — but unusual musical experiences await in this era of social isolation.
It’s Beethoven’s 250th birthday year: reviews of four sets of the complete piano concertos from, respectively, Paul Lewis, Stewart Goodyear, Inon Barnatan, and Stephen Hough.
Pianist Thomas Adès proves himself a sympathetic champion of Czech composer Leoš Janáček; it’s not often that a Schumann-Mendelssohn album focuses on the music of Clara and Fanny (rather than Robert and Felix); Jenny Lin’s performances of piano pieces by Philip Glass don’t lack for style or technical command.
It took more than a century, but Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet has finally got the recording it deserves; it would be hard to beat the all-star line-up featured in The Cave of Wondrous Voice; and ready for some flawless Shostakovich?
James MacMillan’s Viola Concert is a magnificent addition to the repertoire; the debut recording of Magnus Lindberg’s song cycle Accused leaves a bit to be desired; a fetching, brilliant gathering of orchestral music by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin’s pairing of Beethoven with Knecht is intelligent, programmatically and musically, but Thierry Fischer’s Symphony fantastique is a disappointing misfire.
This CD with British pianist Stephen Hough is a gem — and it was named Recording of the Month by Gramophone Magazine.
Simon Rattle’s Bruckner is, on the whole, lean and lively; if you’re looking for a new Mahler Four, Vladimir Jurowski’s is the one to check out; Thierry Fischer leads performances of each symphony that take Saint-Saëns’ writing seriously.
This is a gem of a recording, a wonderful introduction to this often overlooked Hungarian composer.